THE story of "the wonder and the dread" of adolescence seems to be as perennial as the rather widespread and universal development of the child into the man. It is a topic which, indeed, affects most of us, and with which some author is always ready to deal; to lay bare the psychology of the youth as he gets his first glimpse of life in its various aspects.
Such an author is Mr. Hill, who endeavors, we are told, to explore the mind and emotions of the adolescent boy in his response to sex, religion and beauty. It would have been simpler, and, perhaps, more exact to have omitted religion and beauty. For the author of "Plundered Host" as for the great majority of the writers of similar works, religion, beauty and all the other objects of emotion, are synonymous with sex; their religion has its origin below the belt, and their beauty is almost invariably lighted by a red lamp.
Not that this is in itself reprehensible. It has been remarked that sex "is something most of us possess, but in which most of us do not see the guiding star of our lives." In short, while it is not difficult to understand why so much perfectly good paper is taken up with its exposition, it is hard to justify the fact on any artistic or intellectual grounds. And what applies to the bulk of the "novels" of this character applies in particular to "Plundered Host." In the words of the late Ambrose Bierce, "The covers of this book are too far apart."